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Order of Malta in Beirut: a heartbroken city in an ever-wounded country

As Lebanon continues to register an alarming rise in Covid-19 infections and deaths, a new lockdown would wreak even more poverty and suffering among the stricken population. The President of the Order of Malta in Lebanon says his fellow citizens are sick, hungry and in despair.

Caritas Internationalis appeals for end to conflict: Aspire to peace and harmony

As the International Day of Peace is observed across the globe this September 21, Caritas Internationalis calls for an end to war and violence all over the world.

Pope: each one is beautiful to God who loves us

Pope Francis on Monday received in the Vatican a group of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), who are being treated at a clinic in St. Polten, Austria. He thanked all for the wonderful work for the youngsters.

Caritas Africa and Caritas Europa on the International Day of Peace 2020

On the occasion of the 29th International Day of Peace 2020, Caritas Africa and Caritas Europa call on European and African leaders to adopt a new framework for EU-Africa relations that puts people at the heart of peace and security efforts.

A Chapter That Changed My Life: J.R.R. Tolkien’s “On Fairy-stories”

I don’t remember when I first read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings; these tales seem to have always been part of the furnishings of my imagination. However, I do recall precisely when I encountered Tolkien’s groundbreaking essay “On Fairy-stories,” in which he explores the origins, nature, and purpose of fantasy literature. I was a young teenager, and while browsing through a book-table at a flea market, I came across a book called The Tolkien Reader, in which this essay was included. Little did I know that this battered paperback with its trippy 1970s cover art would change my life in so many ways. “On Fairy-stories” is a powerful analysis of how fantasy works. Originating as a lecture in 1939, it came about after he had published The Hobbit and had begun work on the Hobbit sequel that would become The Lord of the Rings. Here,…

Washington reinstating virtually all the U.N. sanctions on Iran

Washington says it is reinstating virtually all the U.N. sanctions on Iran, including an arms embargo.

Pope at Angelus: God calls everyone, and calls always

At the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis reflects on the parable of the workers in the vineyard, heard in the day’s Gospel, and elaborates on two ways God acts.

Nigerian Bishops against financial inducements for terrorists

Catholic Bishops of the Kaduna Ecclesiastical Province in Nigeria have sounded the alarm against financial inducement for perpetrators of criminal activities in the region.

Arguing, But Never Quarreling: The Odd Couple of Scalia and Ginsburg

There are no odd couples anymore. In an age of heightened partisanship and unsparing vitriol, it is conventional wisdom that if you are a conservative, you cannot pal around with a liberal. And if you are a liberal, you can have nothing in common with a conservative. Not so Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia. From the standpoint of their politics and jurisprudence, you might have thought these two Supreme Court giants were from different planets. Ginsburg would be described as a liberal’s liberal with staunch opinions (literally) on everything from civil liberties to abortion. Scalia was recognized as a towering conservative who championed the separation of powers and a keen deference to the text of the law. Ginsburg believed in the living Constitution while Scalia defended originalism. Though both were native New Yorkers, their judicial philosophies could have spawned a rivalry akin to the fiery mid-century rows between New…

The New Pew Findings, Catholic Teens, and the Idol of Success

The Pew Research Center released a new report entitled “US Teens Take After Their Parents Religiously, Attend Services Together and Enjoy Family Rituals.” But the survey also showed that Catholic US teenagers “mirror their peers on religious trends.” This is not surprising given that American Catholics, while ethnically diverse, tend to share the values and behaviors of most Americans. And given that America is, in a secularized sort of way, a post-Christian society, it is not at all surprising to find US Catholic teens mirroring their peers on religious trends. But before diving into a cultural analysis of what is potentially behind the latest report, let’s look at the findings of the study itself.  I encourage you to take a look at the full survey, but for my purposes I want to only focus on a few parts.